Death Penalty

"We do not expect to live in a culture where murder does not exist; we do demand that it not be legal." Albert Camus
Regional data demonstrate that the modern American death penalty has its origins in racial terror and is, in the words of [Steven B] Bright, the legal scholar, "a direct descendant of lynching." Bryan Stevenson: NY Review of Books (7/13/2017)
Our insistence on applying the death penalty to international terrorists is causing us multiple problems. The death penalty is banned throughout Europe (and indeed, by most liberal democracies). Our European allies, irritated by what they call a growing American tendency to give in to a "unilateralist temptation," see yet another example in our insistence on employing the death penalty against international terrorists extradited from abroad. Because of its opposition to the death penalty, the European Parliament has prohibited extradition of terrorists to the United States for trial without a commitment to waive capital punishment. The United Kingdom, our closest ally on most matters related to national security, has put the United States on notice that British soldiers will not turn bin Laden over to the United States if they manage to capture him, unless the death penalty is waived. Spain is refusing to extradite eight suspected terrorists without assurance that the death penalty will not be imposed. Jessica Stern's book "Terror in the Name of God".

The Death Penalty, Nearing Its End (10/24/2016)

Death to the Death Penalty (5/14/2014)

Death Penalty and Human Rights Standards

Murder is our national sport (5/12/2013)

Roman Collosseum Lit to Mark Connecticut's Abolition of the Death Penalty (11/29/2012)

Rick Perry’s ‘Christian’ & ‘Conservative’ Base Cheer Wildly At His Half a Billion Dollar Death Sentence Record (9/8/2011)

So here's the question: Why is it that Republicans along with their 'pro-life', talk-radio propagandists favor not just waterboarding but the death penalty ?

George W. Bush during his six years as governor of Texas presided over 152 executions, more than any other governor in the recent history of the United States. Still Republicans nominated him and we are all paying the price. Republicans at the very top spawned Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, waterboarding, secret prisons, and other lawless 'justice'. The US now has the highest rate of incarcerations in the world.

Not to be outdone...Rick Perry, as Governor of Texas, has overseen 234 executions since he took office in 2000. Republicans cheered for that. They are 'pro-life'...they say.

Republicans are only pro-life for the unborn, they tend to favor the death penalty, and now they are defending torture.

To be silent is to be an accessory to these crimes.

Bryan Stevenson: Racism and the Death Penalty 

The Death Penalty Information Center has released its latest report, "Smart on Crime: Reconsidering the Death Penalty in a Time of Economic Crisis." The report combines an analysis of the costs of the death penalty with a newly released national poll of police chiefs who put capital punishment at the bottom of their law enforcement priorities.

Campaign to End The Death Penalty

Both the Ct House and Senate passed a bill to abolish the death penalty. Ct Governor Rell, a true Republican, vetoed It. But Connecticut finally repealed capital puishment in 2012.

The death penalty does not save money. It is no deterrent. It is error prone. It is vengeful, but satisfies no one. Because of US continued use of the death penalty, advanced countries refuse to extradite to us. The Declaration of Independence reads "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."  But Republicans don't respect international law.

This is what is wrong with the death penalty: Despite years of appeals, important evidence sometimes never gets a hearing. Mistakes go uncorrected, and doubts about guilt are not addressed. Executing someone where such doubts about his guilt remain unresolved undermines public confidence in our justice system. Responsible public officials should not allow that.

200 Executions and Counting: Texas Gov. Rick Perry's Cruel Death Tally  

200 Executions and Counting: Texas Gov. Rick Perry's Cruel Death Tally

Today marks the 200th execution under Gov. Perry, a record even deadlier than George W. Bush's tenure. What's the matter with Texas? Read more »

Troy Davis

was convicted of shooting police officer Mark Allen MacPhail, but only on the basis of witness testimony. Most of the witnesses have since recanted, many alleging that police coerced them into making false statements.

On May 20, twenty-seven former judges and prosecutors from across the political spectrum filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis.  Signers of the amicus brief include Larry Thompson (Deputy Attorney General of the United States, 2001-2003), former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA; U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, 1986-1990); William S. Sessions (Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1987-1993), and John Gibbons (former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit). Their brief urges the Court to order an evidentiary hearing in District Court, arguing that “Mr. Davis’ petition for an original writ meets this Court’s exceptional circumstances test because Mr. Davis can make an extraordinary showing through new, never reviewed evidence that strongly points to his innocence, and thus his execution would violate the Constitution.” Davis’ attorneys filed a writ of habeas corpus with the Court, pursuant to its original jurisdiction, asking for the same hearing.  Davis has a significant amount of new evidence pointing to his innocence that has never been fully reviewed in court.  He was sentenced to death primarily on eyewitness testimony, but 7 of the 9 eyewitnesses have recanted their testimony and some evidence points to one of the two remaining witnesses as the person who committed the murder.   The amicus brief may be read here and the original writ of habeas corpus may be read here.

In the end, the execution of Troy Davis would solve nothing. It would only add to the pain of everyone involved, and destroy public faith in Georgia’s ability to administer justice fairly. Georgia officials should do the right thing and make sure the execution of Troy Davis does not proceed.

Civilized countries do not use the death penalty

Abolition of the death penalty is a requirement for countries seeking EU membership. All candidate countries have acceded to leave siteProtocol No. 6 concerning the Abolition of the Death Penalty to the European Convention for the Protection of leave siteHuman Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR). In addition, EU Member States are all signatories to leave siteProtocol No. 13 to the ECHR concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances. This treaty explicitly bans the death penalty in all circumstances, including in war-time. (From the EU's Human Rights page.)

Dean Koh of the Yale Law School on the death penalty

Youtube Republican debate question on the death penalty

Expediting the Death Penalty

EU will not extradite without assurance that there will be no death penalty

Mexico will not extradite without assurance that there will be no death penalty.


Death Penalty

States With and Without the Death Penalty

CNADP (Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty)

Amnesty International works to eliminate the death penalty


State Resources

National Organizations


Discrimination, Death, and Denial: The Tolerance of Racial Discrimination in Infliction of the Death Penalty: Stephen B. Bright

Capital Punishment, Murder by the Book: Jodie Sinclair

The Top Ten Death Penalty Myths: The Politics of Crime Control: Rudolph J. Gerber and John M. Johnson

Dead Wrong: Michael A. Mello

Who Owns Death Mitchel and Lifton

Debating the Death Penalty: Should America Have Capital Punishment? The Experts on Both Sides Make Their Best Case, Hugo Adam Bedau and Paul G. Cassell, editors, Oxford, 2004;

The Death Penalty: An American History by Stuart Banner, Harvard, 2003; The Contradictions of American Capital Punishment, by Franklin E. Zimring, Oxford, 2003.

Home Editorial News Books Blogs Links Feedback